Allison Hickey, Norman Fletchall Team, RBC Wealth Management
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Allison Hickey, RBC branch service manager, registered client associate on the Norman Fletchall Team, RBC Wealth Management
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
The most challenging and rewarding aspects of my job are both working with clients. It’s rewarding because I love getting to be a part of each person’s story and plan since recently joining the Norman Fletchall Team at RBC. We get to be there to celebrate the wins with them, like getting a promotion, moving, getting married, or retiring. Helping clients can also be challenging for a variety of reasons. I’m an empathetic person, so it’s hard for me when I have clients struggling, whether it’s something concrete like a job loss or a death in the family, or something more obscure, like worrying about the future and being able to achieve the financial goals they have for themselves.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
A friend gave me Sallie Krawcheck’s book, Own It: The Power of Women at Work, and as I learned about her, I developed an immense respect for what she has accomplished. She went from getting her securities license to being CEO of Sanford C. Bernstein within 10 years. It’s also worth mentioning that she accomplished this feat while in her 30s, relatively early in what has been a successful career, and a decade I’m in now. She went on to be CEO and CFO of several large Wall Street firms before creating her own investment platform. I admire her courage and drive. It takes both to accomplish what she has.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
A highlight for me is that I have the opportunity to have this career. Although there are standouts like Sallie Krawcheck, the financial industry is still overwhelmingly male. In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work beside female trailblazers and I’ve had conversations with colleagues who began building their careers in the 1980s, when they had to work so much harder than anyone else to be respected. I feel so fortunate that they carved a path for me to be able to get my registration and build my own career in the securities industry.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
My biggest advice would be “know your worth.” At 21, I was getting ready for graduate school and going from part-time service jobs to my first “grown up” job, and I didn’t know how to advocate for myself. I was so nervous about finding any job that I forgot to think about whether it would be a career path that I wanted. I did myself a disservice because by making my choices based on insecurity, I delayed finding my way into a career I’m passionate about. I also made the mistake that I think a lot of young job seekers — women in particular — make, which is that I didn’t advocate for myself in salary negotiations. Again, I was so worried about offending that I didn’t ask for the pay that my knowledge and skill set warranted. It took time after that initial misstep to move up in my thinking so that now, my contributions are reflected in my earnings.
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
The best thing about living and working in Dane County is all of the amazing low-cost and free activities available! While a lot of these are on hold right now for public safety, I can’t believe that events as amazing as Concerts on the Square, Live on King Street, Taste of Madison, and Art Fair on the Square are all free or donation based. Having lived in other cities, I appreciate how unique these opportunities are and I love to see them crowded with people taking advantage. Madison and Dane County are also incredibly pedestrian and bike friendly. One of my favorite things to do on a sunny summer day is to run, walk, or bike along the lakeshores or State Street and take in the beauty.
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
Does singing loudly and out of tune count? But seriously, I get this from my mom. I grew up listening to oldies with her and she passed along the habit of randomly singing when something I encounter reminds me of a song. For example, my boyfriend and I will be walking the dogs and if I see a pup peeking out from a window, I’ve been known to break out with “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” He also became very familiar with my (terrible) impersonation of Elvis singing “Blue Christmas” this last year.
What are your guilty pleasures?
My guilty pleasure is definitely getting a little too competitive at game nights. My family lives in the area and we regularly get together for game nights. We aren’t playing Scrabble or Monopoly, either. We play games that require us to describe things or act things out and it can get a little rambunctious. One that we played recently is called You Laugh, You Drink, and the goal is to get your target to laugh within 60 seconds by acting out the prompt on the card. Don’t underestimate the awkward hilarity of watching your dad stroke your mom’s earlobes. I end up with sore abs from laughing so much. Since COVID, I’ve also been doing virtual game nights with friends all over the country and it’s been an awesome way to stay connected and laugh together, whether we’re one street over or halfway across the U.S.
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